Back to School Offer

Get 20% of Your First Order amount back in Reward Credits!

Get 20% of Your First Orderback in Rewards

All papers examples
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)
HIRE A WRITER!
Paper Types
Disciplines
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)

The Shadow Scholar and the Basement of the Ivory Tower, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1128

Essay

Under the pseudonym of “Ed Dante”, the author of  “The Shadow Scholar” presents an interesting and somewhat complex scenario.   He writes academic papers for students who then submit the work under their own names, and he is a worker in a vast industry of which it appears universities are unaware, or uninterested.   Equally pseudonymous is “Professor X”, who relays his experiences teaching basic writing skills to college students.   Both men have a single agenda: to point out severe issues in higher education today. Both articles also, and regrettably, offer only current circumstances and no suggestions as to improving them.

Dante’s article is compelling.  In regard to the author’s intent, there is an overwhelming amount of self-validation. In paragraph after paragraph, he perpetually returns to his own accomplishments. He outlines the processes by which he performs the work, but more evident is his apparent satisfaction in his abilities. He produces academic papers at  Ph. D levels easily, and the list of disciplines with which he is adept virtually covers the entire range of all academic studies. This pervasive aspect of the article may be viewed as relating to logos, in that he wishes to substantiate the mechanics of his profession.

The defiance of Dante presents his pathos; he is never apologetic, as he never refers to questioning the morality of how he earns a living.   He claims to be something of an inevitable creation of an educational system hopelessly out of touch with its student body: “Say what you want about me, but I am not the reason your students cheat” (Dante). The pathos is then apparent in the victimized component within this argument. Dante proudly refers to the money he earns, yet he also presents himself as an unappreciated force. There are references to the long hours he puts in, and to the difficulty he faces in deciphering instructions from students unable to write a simple sentence. In terms of pathos, this is transparent: the reader cannot help but wonder why, if the challenges are so extreme at times, the author continues on, particularly as he notes that his earnings are not excessive.

This reverts back to the matter of ethos, and Dante is more successful here. He conveys an ethical dilemma apart from himself, and even his excessive self-promotion works here. By defining the three types of students most commonly employing him, Dante enhances the ethos through logos.   That is to say, he seems to be well experienced, and his assertion, that students unfamiliar with English are easily passing courses by virtue of his own work, strikingly reveals the enormous, ethical problem in education.  Simply, universities cannot claim to educate when they are so distanced from their students that they are unaware of the blatant incompatibility of expertly-written paper and student unable to write basic English.   Worse than this is the suggestion that these concerns are deliberately ignored by an academic industry only interested in moving students along.

However, and tellingly, Dante sets up another ethos wholly dependent on the reader’s acceptance of his somewhat victimized role in the affair, and this is a questionable foundation. When he describes the other two classifications of his clients as lazy/rich and “hopelessly deficient”, he is on shakier ethical ground because here he adopts a kind of arrogance:  “My favorite customers are those with an unlimited supply of money” (Dante). He does point out that this group also offers the clearest directions as well, but this only reinforces further the author’s willingness to utterly ignore the ethics of the situation, and take a highly desirable job. It is to Dante’s credit that he does not obfuscate his reality to enhance his integrity, as would be the case if he claimed only to be in business to assist students lost in a foreign language.  Nonetheless, as with his relentless self-promotion, the casual, and almost boastful, admitting to his preferences undermines his position, especially as he seeks to blame academia for the entire process. Ultimately, however, Dante fails, and not merely because he so consistently takes time to exalt himself. Had Dante opted to more seriously examine the underlying issues of his client base,  his role would have acquired some of the ethical validation he is, despite his ostensible nonchalance, clearly lacking.

Professor X’s entire article is chiefly centered on pathos. He does present the circumstances leading to this appeal, which goes to logos; the students he tries to teach, as he recounts several times, have no basic skills.  Many of the older students are utterly incapable of using a computer to do research, or even as a word-processing tool. Many are barely literate: “Students routinely fail… because they cannot write a coherent sentence” (Professor X). His position, in terms of logos, is validated by the facts given regarding his career, as well as by numerous examples of this situation.

In fairness to X, he also touches upon ethos, as he expresses great regret over a higher education system that is so self-defeating. It seems he has a strong sense of his role in a large canvas, and ethos is addressed through his sympathetic, if rhetorical, questioning. No one, especially the students, are gaining as things are, and no one in charge seems to care. He refers to colleges as economically-driven industries, out to obtain as much tuition as possible. Like Dante, he notes the enormous flaw in this approach: “No one is thinking about the larger implications, let alone the morality, of admitting so many students to classes they cannot possibly pass” (Professor X). There is throughout a genuine expression of sadness, and of hopelessness. X is not defiant, as Dante is, but he is similarly unapologetic. Like Dante, he asserts that he is merely a cog in a vast and uncaring machine.

This goes to the essential flaw in both articles, which centers on logos, or rather an absence of it. Both writers are highly literate and adept at presenting their specific circumstances. Both appeal powerfully to pathos, if by different avenues. Dante almost inadvertently generates sympathy for the students who employ him, while Professor X’s feeling for them is more directly manifested. Neither, however, offers even a generalized suggestion of how so damaging a process, as they perceive modern higher education to be, may be addressed. Dante talks about his second-language students as hopeless, as X  laments a widespread inability to write a basic sentence.  Neither man, however, seeks to either trace, or offer suggestions for rectifying, this scenario. Both “The Shadow Scholar” and “In the Basement of the Ivory Tower” lay out certain, dismal realities of modern education, and simply leave them there as evidence.

Works Cited

Dante, E.  “The Shadow Scholar”  The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 12, 2010.  Retrieved from  http://chronicle.com/article/The-Shadow-Scholar/125329/

Professor X.  “In the Basement of the Ivory Tower”  The Atlantic Monthly, June, 2008. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/06/in-the-basement-of-the-ivory-tower/6810/#

Time is precious

Time is precious

don’t waste it!

Get instant essay
writing help!
Get instant essay writing help!
Plagiarism-free guarantee

Plagiarism-free
guarantee

Privacy guarantee

Privacy
guarantee

Secure checkout

Secure
checkout

Money back guarantee

Money back
guarantee

Related Essay Samples & Examples

Narratives That Shape Our World, Essay Example

The context and the values in the text Othello by William Shakespeare have shaped me in perspective through the main character Othello. I perceive life [...]

Pages: 6

Words: 1574

Essay

Cyber Security Career Path, Essay Example

Background The field of technology is quite intriguing. It’s fascinating to see how different technologies operate and what they have in common. It amazes me [...]

Pages: 7

Words: 1796

Essay

Impacts of Wildfires on Us GDP Growth, Essay Example

Abstract When there are significant wildfires, the lives of workers, their families, and their employers are all affected. However, firefighting and repairing the damage may [...]

Pages: 19

Words: 5176

Essay

Ironic Realism in Atwood’s the Handmaid’s Tale, Essay Example

Margaret Atwood’s use of relatable sensory details creates an ironic realism in her novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. In a society wherein every person must keep [...]

Pages: 2

Words: 617

Essay

English as a Lingua Franca, Essay Example

Introduction People with various native languages commonly communicate using a lingua franca (O’Regan, 2014), a speech, or a mix of languages.  The phenomenon of English [...]

Pages: 3

Words: 914

Essay

The Trump Administration, Essay Example

The rhetorical agenda for the article is to convince the Trump Administration to urge employers to issue hazard pay for their employees and to align [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1270

Essay

Narratives That Shape Our World, Essay Example

The context and the values in the text Othello by William Shakespeare have shaped me in perspective through the main character Othello. I perceive life [...]

Pages: 6

Words: 1574

Essay

Cyber Security Career Path, Essay Example

Background The field of technology is quite intriguing. It’s fascinating to see how different technologies operate and what they have in common. It amazes me [...]

Pages: 7

Words: 1796

Essay

Impacts of Wildfires on Us GDP Growth, Essay Example

Abstract When there are significant wildfires, the lives of workers, their families, and their employers are all affected. However, firefighting and repairing the damage may [...]

Pages: 19

Words: 5176

Essay

Ironic Realism in Atwood’s the Handmaid’s Tale, Essay Example

Margaret Atwood’s use of relatable sensory details creates an ironic realism in her novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. In a society wherein every person must keep [...]

Pages: 2

Words: 617

Essay

English as a Lingua Franca, Essay Example

Introduction People with various native languages commonly communicate using a lingua franca (O’Regan, 2014), a speech, or a mix of languages.  The phenomenon of English [...]

Pages: 3

Words: 914

Essay

The Trump Administration, Essay Example

The rhetorical agenda for the article is to convince the Trump Administration to urge employers to issue hazard pay for their employees and to align [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1270

Essay

Get a Free E-Book ($50 in value)

Get a Free E-Book

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!